Crime Story: The neighbors thought he was a nice man. Then her sons disappeared. One after the other. The Fall of Candyman

The old lady steps in front of the door of her small brick house.

Crime Story: The neighbors thought he was a nice man. Then her sons disappeared. One after the other. The Fall of Candyman

The old lady steps in front of the door of her small brick house. She holds a plastic bag of bird seed in her hand. She slowly descends the steps to the gravel path that Walter, her husband, who died ten years ago, laid out. Twelve pigeons come fluttering out of nowhere. Then six more. “Look at the all-white one,” says Mary Scott. “I call her Miss Whitey.”

Then her voice begins to tremble and for a moment she forgets about the pigeons. Mary Scott noticed a young man on the street, walking past one of the three-story new buildings. She stares in the direction of the young man. Her eyes blink behind her glasses. For a moment she doesn't know what to do. “Sometimes I see someone and think it’s my son,” she says. “Then I think he’s finally come home.”

It is a morning in September 2010 when the 83-year-old is talking to the author of this story, almost 40 years after it all happened. Mary Scott lives on West 21st Street in Houston Heights, a neighborhood about five miles northwest of downtown Houston. On April 20, 1972, her 17-year-old son Mark, a boy with blue eyes and dimples, left the house and was never seen again. With her husband Walter and her younger son Jeff, she called Mark's friends and classmates and asked if any of them had met Mark. They drove around the neighborhood streets. They contacted the hospitals. In the end, Walter went to the police and reported his son missing.

A few days later they received a postcard from Mark: “How are you? I'm in Austin and found a good job for three dollars an hour." The parents shook their heads in disbelief. Your son, who was just in eleventh grade, drove to Austin without saying a word? No. Something terrible must have happened.

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